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“Good campground”

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Canisbay Lake Campground
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
143 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
“Good campground”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 3, 2013

We stayed in the radio-free area over the long weekend and the noise level wasn't an issue. The campground is far away from Hwy 60 that we didn't hear any traffic. The privacy was also fine, as we weren't on the main path so pedestrian or car traffic were quite low. Our next door neighbour was at least 15m from our site, and others were even farther away.

From our site, it's a 10-min walk (part of it include a walk on a well-maintained easy walking trail through the woods) to the shower area, which has 7 stalls & 3 toilets for the entire campground. It's ok if the weather isn't too hot. And I guess many people choose to drive there anyways. The flush toilet with 2 stalls for each sex is only 1-min walk from our campsite, and there is no light. The lake is 2-min walk from our site. And the large beach is a 15-min walk. You can buy firewood at the campground office at the gate.

Unlike other car camping campgrounds that we have stayed in Algonquin before, this one is the most secluded. On both nights, we heard animals wandering around very close to our site, and we have followed instructions of bear safety by putting all the scented items in the car.

Algonquin is a large park, so you'll have to drive everywhere.

Room Tip: Do your research to find a site that is suited for you. The park reservation website lists all the d...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
4 Thank kutepanda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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58 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
120 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 1, 2013

Long story short: I took three children between six and nine mid-week at the end of September for their first real camping experience in the wilds of Algonquin. Canisbay Lake camp from a recommendation from a greatly experienced family camper.

The weather cooperated. We were in site 77, which is in a radio and pet-free zone with no electric or water with a nice walking path down to a small canoe launch. 77 is about as private as you could find this close to the water.

PROS

The lake was warm and shallow with beautiful sunrises.

Canoe rentals are available at 8am and 2pm from the main beach. If they tell you at the sign-in to just show up at the beach, they're lying. It's only at 8 and 2.

There are lots of great hiking trails and I don't know if this is typical or not, but we encountered no mosquitos and one horse fly. The bug situation was 9.5/10.

If you're hoping to do some star gazing, you'll have to wait and head down to the beach. Most of the lots I saw were pretty well covered, which was great during the day for staying cool.

CONS

The forest fire warning was set to high, but we couldn't get anything to burn. It was amazing. I swear it was like the laws of combustion no longer worked. Not the park's fault.

The water stations are not for drinking water, so make sure you bring it with you.

My kids refused to go in the vault washrooms. There is a proper washroom somewhere, but it's a drive, so if you're reserving a spot, make sure you balance how close you want to be to the lake against how much you like to go to the bathroom.

Because of the layout, you have to drive most places, so your tent would light up at night every time someone drove by, which happened mid-week about six times a night.

Loud at night. The first night we heard a yahoo convention whooping in the middle of the night. If the wardens put an end to it, it took them a while.

And don't forget your air mattress.

Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
4 Thank Brad C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orillia, Ontario, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 14, 2013

I completely agree with TT's review...we found the park very congested, noisy, and no where near as private as we had expected. I can only assume that the reviewers who have described this campground as "very private" have never stayed somewhere like Arrowhead. We have camped in many other provincial parks and would recommend any of them over Canisbay Lake. Also, there should be a notice on the reservation website about the lack of a trailer filling/dumping station. We would have chosen to stay at another campground if we had known. Also, why are we paying a "premium" rate for a view of the road and comfort station??? Anywhere else, this rate would come with a waterfront site. On the plus side, the Whisky Jack staff were very diligent about keeping things clean.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank GailynS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodstock, Canada
Level Contributor
37 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2013

This was my first time in Algonquin Park, and first time camping at Canisbay Lake Campground. I am a seasoned camper, and have been to several Ontario Provincial Parks, so I know how camping should be and what I like.

I must say I was very disappointed in this park. The park itself was very nice and clean, and the staff ( who are contracted out) are always driving around keeping the washrooms and park clean. The disappointment is the privacy and noise level.

Never before have I ever camped in such a noisy provincial park, and the disregard to wildlife and privacy blows my mind. I thought people coming to Algonquin were the real deal, the real nature loving campers....but this park proved me wrong. there was no respect for noise or your fellow campers. Kids were running around screaming until midnight, its like they were just let loose...where the heck were the parents? Oh and the cars...don't get me started! The traffic was constant...which I realized was because you had to drive to everything. URGH! Not what I wanted to see or hear while camping.

I don't like the fact that you had to DRIVE everywhere to do anything. Yes there was a small beach to play on in our campground, and yes you could take your kayaks out on the lake ( we did many times) however if you wanted a hiking or biking trail you had to drive to it.....again, I was not expecting this. I usually go to a campground, park my vehicle and don't drive it again until we leave. We spent so much time driving to hiking trails it was ridiculous.

The sites are shallow and open to your neighbours all around. There were very few sights, if any that were actually private.

I also was unaware of the fact that the water/dump station was no where near our campground, so that was a bit of a let down as well.


I will return to Algonquin Park because the views are simply spectacular, and showing my little boy the amazing wildlife was priceless, however I will never return to Canisbay Lake to camp again.

Room Tip: if you have a trailer that uses water, don't forget to fill up BEFORE you get to your campground...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank T T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksonville, Florida
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 30, 2013

Don't leave home without your extension cord if you booked a "Hydro" site, you will need it. Don't believe the maps when picking a site. The maps do not accurately display either the privacy or adjacency of campsites. The maps also do not accurately display current shower locations. The reason given by the Warden for lack of map accuracy was that too many were printed and now it's too expensive to make new, updated maps. Really, even online? The final indignity for RV's is that there is only 1 sanitation dump station in the entire Park. For us at Canisbay Lake, it meant driving east at least 10 miles out of our way just to dump waste water. For a park this size, can they not find a place near the west gate for a sanitation station? Beyond all this, the washrooms and showers were often dirty. They seem to be cleaned only in the mornings, when you are not allowed to shower. Our toilet room had a broken hand dryer, and no alternative like paper towels were provided even after the staff were asked about it. Basically, the lands are beautiful, but there is no service philosophy to accompany and enrich the experience. I know we are "camping" but, at $40+/night, campers are the ones paying the bills and should get something more than a parking spot and fire pit. Second and last time to Algonquin.

Helpful?
2 Thank Dryfly880
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 27, 2013

We camped late July, with a 26ft trailer. I thought the campsites were pretty private, I would say about average. Some sites were small, but there were also some good size ones as well. The beach was fairly small and there was only sand farther up the shore. The lower beach was a gravel sand, that didn't hurt to walk on too much. The view from the beach out over the lake and hills is very pretty. As far as trails go, you have to drive down hwy 60 to get to any. But that is expected at Algonquin as it is a very large park. There is a mountain bike trail right beside Canisbay lake, but beware it is not for children or unfit adults. It is a true mountain bike trail, lots of roots, rocks, hill ascents and descents.
The only thing I really disliked is that if you have a trailer, the nearest dumping station is 13km's away. I don't know why they can't put a dumping station at each campground in Algonquin.

We also visited the logging museum and visitor center, both of which I highly recommend.

Oh, and I would like to echo other people's comments about Park staff, they are teenagers hired by Whiskey Jack Park services and they have little knowledge of the park and poor customer service. It wouldn't kill you to smile when welcoming a guest.

Enjoy, Algonquin, one of Canada's oldest and most beautiful parks.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jonathan R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 25, 2013

My wife and I just returned last weekend from Canisbay Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park. We like our privacy and do our homework when booking a site on line with Ontario Parks. We decided on Canisbay Lake Campground 3, Site# 118. It’s a non-electric site. Sites 115-118 are very private, and are surrounded by a good cover of trees, blocking the view of your neighbors. Our van blocked the view from the road at the entrance. The campground is very clean. The Comfort station has flush toilets and showers, which are cleaned daily. There’s always hot water and the showers have handles that you can control. No annoying timed shower sensors here, like some of the other parks we’ve stayed at where you have to keep turning the shower back on every minute. We prefer to use the comfort station washrooms, but the Vault toilets here are very clean. The water taps had a boiled water advisory attached to them. Water had to be boiled for at least one minute before cooking with, drinking, or dental use. We had to brush our teeth with bottled water. This really wasn’t a big deal. You can buy ice and firewood from the front gate. The staff at arrival was not that friendly, I heard one person say they have a hundred bookings expected that day because it was the May 24 weekend. The staff outside and around the park are very friendly. The rangers rarely come around and that’s fine with us. This place is relaxing and quiet, there’s lot’s to do here. We visited the Hardwood Trail, which is only .8 km long. Steep uphill walk, followed by a gorgeous view of Smoke Lake. We drove along the Highway 60 Corridor between the West Gate and Canisbay Lake Campground and saw Moose and Turtles. We had NO bear sightings while we were there. Nice beach at the campground on Canisbay Lake. We didn’t swim the water was too cold. A few conoers and kayakers were on the lake. You can rent canoes here. Make sure to visit the Algonquin Visitors Center. Lots of history displays, balcony with a breath taking view of the park, cafeteria and souvenir shop. Bring everything you need. It’s a 60 km drive to the stores in Huntsville near Highway 11. About a 45-minute drive. We wanted Tim Hortons coffee bad one morning a drove the 60 km’s to get it. Worth the drive. We had neighbors with tents and trailers. I highly recommend you go here. I’m already planning to go back.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank PineTree38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Canisbay Lake Campground

Property: Canisbay Lake Campground
Address: Highway 60 at km 23.1, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Location: Canada > Ontario > Algonquin Provincial Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 15 Specialty Lodging in Algonquin Provincial Park
Number of rooms: 242
Also Known As:
Canisbay Lake Campground Hotel Algonquin Park
Canisbay Lake Campground Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

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